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The second year of the pandemic held many success stories
Published December 9th, 2021
The year 2021 has so far shown that the pandemic is weakening its grip on the tourism industry in Finland, with registered accommodation sales growing by 8 per cent across the country during January-October. Of the provinces, accommodation sales were lower only in Lapland from the previous year, due to the decrease from spring 2020, before the pandemic. In terms of accommodation sales, the year 2019 was still unachieved, at least for January-October. The figures were the closest from 2019 in Northern Ostrobothnia, where accommodation sales in January-October 2021 were only one per cent less than in January-October 2019. Examined by municipality, accommodation sales increased the most in Heinola, Pudasjärvi and Pelkosenniemi, compared to both year 2020 and 2019.
Arrivals at registered accommodation establishments increased by 13 per cent in Finland during January-October compared with the previous year. Of the provinces, only Lapland and South Karelia were slightly behind from the previous year's figures, due to the lack of Russian and other international tourists from the peak season at the beginning of the year. In Lapland, accommodation sales in December-February 2021 were as much as 78 per cent lower than in the previous year. Russian bed nights, on the other hand, covered 36 percent of all registered bed nights in South Karelia in December-February 2020, with the share dropping to zero during December-February 2021. Compared to January-October 2019, only one of the provinces reached more tourists arrivals to registered accommodation in 2021 - congratulations to South Savo!
In the case of domestic arrivals to accommodation, the figures appear to be particularly positive. Among all the provinces, the number of domestic arrivals increased the most in Lapland, by as much as 34 per cent from the previous year. Lapland also reached more domestic tourists than in 2019. South Savo and Lapland seemed to have reached domestic tourists best compared to the pre-pandemic period.
If the development of corona cases continues at its current level, the domestic tourism summer will become a record
Published May 28th, 2021
In the travel agency industry, the drop is the largest
Of the tourism-earning industries, the least affected by the corona pandemic is retail, which, after a small slump at the beginning of the pandemic, has continued to grow relatively steadily throughout the pandemic. Looking at corporate VAT settlements, the travel agency sector, which was growing strongly before the pandemic, has been the hardest hit by the pandemic. While in the early 2020s, sales in the travel agency industry grew by more than 20 percent, after the pandemic began, sales fell by more than 50 percent from a year ago.
In the accommodation and leisure industries, the percentage decline in turnover at the beginning of the pandemic was at the same level as in the travel agency sector, but the decline did not continue as strongly throughout the rest of the year. However, this analysis does not take into account the changes in air traffic turnover, as international air transport is not subject to VAT. Finnair's passenger traffic revenues in 2020 fell by almost 79 per cent from the previous year.
The number of foreign flights and arrivals at accommodation establishments fell at the same pace as the pandemic began
The number of passengers on international flights decreased by 99 per cent and the number of foreigners arriving at registered accommodation establishments decreased by 98 per cent in April 2020 from a year ago. The number of domestic overnight stays in accommodation establishments decreased by “only” 91 per cent in April, and in July the number of domestic tourists even increased slightly in Finland, when people could not travel abroad. However, the value of accommodation sales in registered accommodation establishments also decreased in July by about 20 per cent due to a decrease in foreign tourists, lower average prices and shorter delays.
Only in unregistered housing and cottage rentals did sales increase after the onset of the interest rate pandemic. The popularity of unregistered accommodation during a pandemic is explained by the safety-consciousness of tourists. In a private apartment or rental cottage, the risk of infection from other travelers is lower than in registered accommodation establishments. In unregistered accommodation, the decline in domestic tourism also began to show in December 2020 as a decline in accommodation sales.
If the current trend continues in the development of the number of cases of the disease, the domestic tourism summer will become a record
Willingness to travel during the corona pandemic has been investigated in our Domestic Tourism study with the help of the following statements:
- I don't want to travel domestic because of the covid-19
- I don't want to travel abroad because of the covid-19
Based on the responses, an index has been calculated that tells whether there are more people who want to travel than those who do not want to travel (positive index) or vice versa (negative index). Interviews are conducted 250 times a week, allowing the willingness to travel to be monitored in real time.
Figure shows how the index of willingness to travel in the home country turned negative in week 36, when the number of cases exceeded 200 cases per week for the first time. The willingness to travel abroad index has remained negative throughout the pandemic. Domestic willingness to travel correlates very strongly (-0.845) with the number of cases. The willingness to travel abroad also correlates, although not as strongly (-0.537) with the number of cases of the disease.
In May, the number of cases of the disease has still been more than 1,000 per week, but if the trend continues in line with last week, less than 200 cases a week will be reached before midsummer. This is likely to accelerate to new record highs in the domestic tourist summer in terms of domestic tourist numbers.
The Impact of Covid-19 on Tourism
Published April 28th, 2021
Registered overnight stays decreased by 38 percent in Finland from 2019
By region, the largest losers were Uusimaa and Åland, where overnight stays decreased by about 60 % from 2019. The largest loser among cities was Helsinki, where overnight stays decreased by 64 %.
The Covid-19 pandemic only started to affect tourism in March 2020, so the changes should be considered from the beginning of April. In April to December, overnight stays decreased by 45 per cent in Finland, 61 per cent in Åland, 71 per cent in Uusimaa and 76 per cent in Helsinki from a year ago.
But not everywhere went as badly. There were some areas in Finland where tourist overnight stays increased from 2019. The number of overnight stays in the regions of Turunmaa and Ylivieska and in the municipalities of Ähtäri, Kemiönsaari, Mäntyharju, Parainen, Pudasjärvi, Lieksa, Salla and Hanko increased compared to a year ago. In these areas, there are few foreign tourists and, on the other hand, the destinations are small and safe areas during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Finland vs. Sweden
What happened to our beloved neighboring country, Sweden, which was ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic much worse than Finland?
In Sweden, the number of overnight stays in 2020 decreased by 35 per cent year-on-year and in April-December the drop was 41 per cent. So less than in Finland - how can this be possible?
Overnight stays by foreign tourists decreased more in Sweden than in Finland. In Sweden, the drop was 70 per cent, while in Finland “only” 68 per cent. Domestic overnight stays in Sweden also decreased, but not quite as much as in Finland. Swedes stayed in accommodation establishments in their home country 24 per cent less than in 2019, while Finns spent 25 per cent less in their home country. While the share of domestic overnight stays in Sweden is higher (74 % in 2019) than in Finland (69 %), the absence of foreign tourists does not cause the same drop in Sweden as in Finland. Therefore, more investments in domestic tourism is needed!
Tourist Surveys 2020
In June 2020, we launched the Domestic Tourism Survey, which surveys Finns over the age of 15 on a weekly basis about their domestic trips during the past month. We are currently summarizing the June-January data (n=8090). In the report, we also look at foreign tourists in the regions based on the TAK Border Survey data (n=8544) from 2020. With regard to foreign tourists, it should be noted that there will not be only negative things to report :)